The regular season has concluded, and only postseason play remains for IU men's tennis. The Big Ten Men's Tennis Tournament begins Thursday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, against No. 12-seed Michigan State.
Heading into the Big Ten Tournament, the Hoosiers have work to do in order to make it into the NCAA tournament field.
IU landed the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and currently sits at 13-11 overall and 6-5 in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers were just one conference win shy of securing a first round bye in the tournament following losses to No. 34 Penn State and No. 1 Illinois in the final weekend of the regular season.
While IU needs to beat Michigan State first, its focus is on making one final push toward the NCAA tournament players said. The Hoosiers haven't been to the NCAA tournament since the 2012-13 season.
“A win probably puts us back in the tournament,” junior William Piekarsky said. “It’s all riding on that.”
Defeating Michigan State would be a start, but IU still sits further away from the tournament than it did last week.
Before the Penn State and Ohio State losses, Slam Tennis predicted IU as one of the “next four out” of the NCAA Tournament. After the losses, Slam Tennis has dropped IU from the “next four out” altogether.
Slam Tennis has Wisconsin in the “last four in” the NCAA tournament despite having a worse overall and conference record than IU. IU also beat Wisconsin earlier this season.
Regardless, the road to the NCAA tournament starts with Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament this weekend. IU defeated Michigan State last month in a 7-0 sweep as well as last year in the Big Ten Tournament.
If the Hoosiers can get past the Spartans, the No. 19 Wolverines will be waiting for them in the second round. IU fell to Michigan 5-2 earlier this season.